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Big data for big issues: Revealing travel patterns of low-income population based on smart card data mining in a global south unequal city

Caio Pieroni, Mariana Giannotti, Bianca B. Alves and Renato Arbex

Journal of Transport Geography, 2021, vol. 96, issue C

Abstract: Smart card data (SCD) allow analyzing mobility at a fine level of detail, despite the remaining challenges such as identifying trip purpose. The use of the SCD may improve the understanding of transit users' travel patterns from precarious settlements areas, where the residents have historically limited access to opportunities and are usually underrepresented in surveys. In this paper, we explore smart card data mining to analyze the temporal and spatial patterns of the urban transit movements from residents of precarious settlements areas in São Paulo, Brazil, and compare the similarities and differences in travel behavior with middle/high-income-class residents. One of our concerns is to identify low-paid employment travel patterns from the low-income-class residents, that are also underrepresented in transportation planning modeling due to the lack of data. We employ the k-means clustering algorithm for the analysis, and the DBSCAN algorithm is used to infer passengers' residence locations. The results reveal that most of the low-income residents of precarious settlements begin their first trip before, between 5 and 7 AM, while the better-off group begins from 7 to 9 AM. At least two clusters formed by commuters from precarious settlement areas suggest an association of these residents with low-paid employment, with their activities placed in medium / high-income residential areas. So, the empirical evidence revealed in this paper highlights smart card data potential to unfold low-paid employment spatial and temporal patterns.

Keywords: Transportation planning; Smart card; Clustering methods; Travel behavior (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jotrge:v:96:y:2021:i:c:s0966692321002568

DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2021.103203

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